The Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON) has estimated that the country is losing about N156 billion annually, due to heavy patronage of foreign software by Nigerians and multinational companies operating in Nigeria.
According to ISPON, the estimated amount is spent on the purchase and importation of foreign software, at the detriment of indigenous software that could perform the same function as the foreign software.
The President of ISPON Mr. Chris Uwaje, who disclosed this at the just-concluded 2013 National Software Conference and Competition in Calabar, organised by the institute, blamed the losses on the inconsistent version upgrade of indigenous software, which he said, had over the time, led to failed software products, project implementation and services.
Uwaje also blamed the unregulated state of foreign software products in Nigeria, non-existent national policy and legislation on software, slow implementation of e-government, e-education, tele-medicine and the non-protection of cyberspace for national security and survivability, as other factors militating against the growth of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry in the country.
He said the annual capital flight to software licensing, delivery services and technical support in the nation's economy have been conservatively valued at N156 billion ($1 billion) annually by the institute.
The Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, who was at the ISPON organised software conference, also lamented the huge economic losses to increasing patronage for foreign software, while delivering a paper on the theme, ‘Software Strategies for Retooling the Workforce’.
Johnson argued that for Nigeria, software strategies must not only be about improving productivity but taking promising software developers and software engineers and helping them to become entrepreneurs that can take advantage of the opportunity of transforming the economy, to create jobs and economic wealth.
The minister said Nigeria's software industry landscape needed two things – innovation process which will be tailored towards the process of creativity that will ultimately result in the successful development of software solutions and secondly, focus on companies not code and to keep tab to the fact that "brilliantly written lines of code must still be considered as building blocks for successful software companies."